THE leader of Bradford Council has issued a statement today following the Government's announcement that Ilkley, Wharfedale and Craven wards will now be subject to further Covid-19 restrictions from Tuesday.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said:

“Unfortunately infection rates in the whole of Bradford District continue to increase. For that reason we ask people to support the Secretary of State’s decision today to reinstate local restrictions in the nine wards in which he relaxed them on 28 August.

“In the last few weeks it’s been noticeable that, as the infection rate has risen, it has also increased markedly in some of those wards which had previously come out of local restriction. We are an interconnected place and we’re dealing with a virus which travels fast once it gets hold, it doesn’t respect ward or constituency boundaries.

“If you live in the 21 wards that are currently in local restrictions then this latest announcement means that there is no change for you this week.

“In the nine wards that recently came out of local restrictions, from next Tuesday those residents will go back into the local restrictions and will only be allowed to socialise with their own household, or bubble.

“We are all at risk and everyone needs to continue to stay safe, take the utmost care to minimise the spread of this terrible virus, and protect vulnerable people.

“The infection rate is rising. Hospital admissions are rising. It is everyone’s responsibility to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Thank you to residents, staff, the NHS and volunteers across the district for working so hard to reduce infection rates and to support our communities.

“We all need to continue to follow the Government’s guidelines so that we can contain the virus, save lives and prevent further restrictions on our district. If the infection rates go down then we will be able to go back to national restrictions which other parts of the country are following where the ‘Rule of 6’ applies.

“But, as we have seen from other parts of the North this week, further sharp increases in infection rates could lead to the Government deciding on further economic restrictions which cost jobs and livelihoods. We all want to avoid this.

“Keeping two metres apart from each other, regular hand-washing, and wearing a face covering indoors will help to beat this virus and protect our loved ones and jobs.”

Ilkley and Keighley MP Robbie Moore campaigned for Ilkley to be released from restrictions and last week recommended lifting three Keighley wards from local lockdown - but he's changed his mind due the recent Covid infection figures.

He said: "I have advocated a data-led response throughout and based on this new data the restrictions have become necessary.

"The impact of a full national lockdown would be detrimental to the mental health of children, but if everybody is able to follow these restrictions and keep the virus down, we will hopefully have some kind of return to normality."

However, Shipley MP Philip Davies, whose constituency includes Burley-in-Wharfedale and Menston - villages in the Wharfedale ward of Bradford Council - has had some strong words on today's announcement.

He's hit out at the Government's "power mad" health ministers and officials as his constituency is put back into lockdown

“The country and the public need to get a grip of themselves," said Mr Davies.

"The official figures show that far more people in all parts of the country are dying of flu and pneumonia than COVID - despite there being a flu vaccine - and yet we continue to accept ridiculous and pointless restrictions to our freedoms and the inevitable collapse of our economy because the authorities are scaring us witless into accepting their power grab.

“What we are seeing across the country is more akin to what I would expect to see from a Socialist government rather than a Conservative one. Health Ministers and Public Health Officials have gone power mad and history will not be kind to them."